Start spreadin’ the news: It’s Lou!

Oct 15, 2002 6:51 AM

            GUESS WHO’S COMING TO NEW YORK! An out of breath pipe couldn’t wait to deliver the news about the New York Mets’ new manager.

            Lou Piniella will sign as the next manager of the New York Mets,” said the pipe in a phone call on Monday. “You can bet the farm on it!”

            Let me empty the barn, then tell me more! “This comes from a very close friend of mine who is involved with the Mets,” the pipe continued.

            The word is that Lou has asked his current boss, the Seattle Mariners, to talk to other teams, but so far he’s denying any rumors about talking to the Mets.

            “Of course, he’s denying the rumors. He can’t talk to anyone else until the Mariners give him permission or his release. He should get both this week,” the pipe said.


   A PAINLESS EXTRACTION!  Listen to Terry Lanni: “With 43 of the 50 states in debt, online casinos would appear to be a painless extraction. We’re the first company in the United States to operate an Internet casino, but I predict there will be more.

   “Keep in mind, more than $4 billion is bet offshore and illegally every year.”

   Unlike other operators in the business, Lanni isn’t overly concerned about regulators.

   “I feel their job is to regulate. And, they should do whatever they need to do to regulate,” Lanni said.

   COUNT SONNY KING among the many celebs and VIPs who gathered at the Sahara’s Casbar Lounge last week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Jewel of the Desert.

   ALL GOOD THINGS COME IN THREES! The websites of three Mandalay Resort Group (MBG) entertainment destinations -- Circus Circus and Luxor in Las Vegas and Gold Strike in Tunica, Miss. -- have been honored for their creative innovation, efficiency and ease of use by the prestigious Web Marketing Association in the Hotel and Lodging Category. got kudos for Outstanding Hotel and Lodging Website. The site offers not only online reservations and information, but also has a tour available of the Adventuredome Theme Park., also named Outstanding Hotel and lodging Website, is a Flash-driven site offering personalization, online reservations and information about all aspects of the resort. is a comprehensive site offering online reservations, a multimedia-rich entertainment calendar and online event ticket purchasing. It received the Hotel and Lodging Website Standard of Excellence.


            HEY LU, WHERE ARE YOU? One of the world’s biggest “whales” is missing and the operators of an Australian casino where he lost $93 million last year are pretty unhappy.

            Missing is the Chinese mystery man, Zhi (George) Lu, 47, who regularly wagered the house limit of $200,000 a hand on his favorite game, baccarat. Since being lured away from Las Vegas by a Taiwanese gaming host in February, 2000 and placed in a palatial whole-floor suite on the 39th floor of the six-star Crown Towers Hotel in Melbourne, Lu reportedly has wagered in excess of $1 billion.

            A Las Vegas source said he believed Lu was a regular at the MGM Grand where he occupied one of that property’s fabulously lush Mansion suites.

            Reportedly no one knows the source of his wealth, although a number of rumors from his being the owner of a major computer company to being the agent through whom all cigarettes are funneled into China, abound. Sources say that Lu, last seen in January, is laying low in Malaysia.

            One reason he reportedly defected from Las Vegas was the attraction of a private gaming salon. Now that Nevada has eased those private regulators Lu may decide to return. Certainly, Vegas casinos that deal to high-rollers will lay out the welcome mat.


            IT WASN’T EVEN GOLD PLATED: Some three years ago, we warned GamingToday readers to be very careful in dealing with shares in a company called, Las Vegas Entertainment Network Inc. (LVEN) Every time we attempted to get information about the company, we were stonewalled.

            Among their dealings was alleged ownership of the defunct El Rancho Casino property on the Las Vegas Strip. Stories circulated that the site would be used for a “country-themed” casino. Later, it was to be sold to a company that would create several different casinos in a concept never before seen in these parts.

            Calls to the company headquarters invariably ended with someone saying Gaming Today should get in touch with a Vegas resident, Jay Goldberg, who served as a company spokesman, of sorts.

            Last week, the SEC announced a settlement with company principals who agreed to certain fines. Joe Corazzi, 52, CEO of Las Vegas Entertainment Inc. was fined $75,000 and Carl Sambus, CFO, was fined $25,000. Goldberg, who the SEC said received 85,000 company shares to hype the stock in Las Vegas, paid $10,000 penalty.

            Company allegations that it had a $3 million gold certificate and a $190 million cash investment guarantee were described by the SEC as “counterfeit.”


            SUMNER STILL PLAYS GAMES: For the past couple of years, Sumner Redstone, the Wall Street tycoon, who controls Viacom and CBS, as well as being the largest single stockholder in WMS Industries, has shown a strong yen for Midway Games, the country’s largest non-gaming games producer.

            In a recent filing with the SEC, Redstone noted that he has been “accumulating MWY shares actively in recent weeks” At latest count, Redstone said his holdings amounted to 21.5% of the company’s outstanding shares.


            WRITING HIS LAST “30”: Over the past few years, we have enjoyed reading the material prepared by gaming writer John Stearns for the Reno Gazette-Journal. So it was with disappointment that we read his last piece, a review of the many stories he has covered during his tenure at the northern Nevada newspaper.

            Stearns announced that he was leaving his post to become a member of the staff at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix, Ariz., “where I will cover Indian gaming/economic development.”

            We’re sorry to see him leave the Silver State but we wish him well in his new position.


            A QUESTION OF LAW: New York state makes no bones about its feelings for internet gambling. “It’s against state law,” states the attorney general’s office.

            But, a different question of law came up recently when a Costa Rica-based company blatantly advertised off-shore betting opportunities. The in-your-face media blitz included two huge billboards in New York City, one near the Long Island Expressway in Queens and the other outside the Lincoln Tunnel.

            David Carruthers, CEO of, insists his business is legal and the New York authorities could not block his ad campaign. But now that the campaign has run its course, the AG’s office is saying, “It’s against the law to facilitate a crime and Internet gambling is against the law.” Still, they’ve been reluctant to press charges against the companies that have been accepting the advertising money.

            “What we don’t know is whether the courts would consider those who carry advertisements of illegal operations as facilitators,” said a state attorney.